Isn't it interesting that I'm reading a book on margin when in ways it feels like I don't have the margin in time to finish it? No doubt this is partly due to my own lack of discipline. I can see pockets of wasted time in my recent schedule. But it's also reflective of some mental weariness. Somehow I find it harder to concentrate and focus and stick with books (much less blogging!) when tired, and tend to gravitate towards easier things that let the mind lay fallow. Anyway, I do plan to finish the book within the next week or so and may possibly post some reflections about it then - if I can find the time!
Fulkerson readers will know that last weekend was an intense one with the seminar on expository preaching. I taught seven times over the weekend and the tiredness lingers. But it was a good time. The dialogue was especially helpful for me, especially questions on hermeneutics, which helped me realize how weak mine still are. So, I just bought Grant Osborne's The Hermeneutical Spiral and plan to start working through it in a couple of weeks. One other benefit of the weekend was working with PowerPoint and getting some helpful suggestions from an attendee on how to use it more effectively. We are planning to purchase a projection system for the church by the end of the year, and I want to incorporate it more often in teaching (though not necessarily always). I feel challenged by this and could use some help in creative ideas for implementing the technology. Any suggestions?
Preparating for teaching through the Christian's warfare and armor in Ephesians 6:10-20 is rich. I spent several hours on it yesterday and hope to do some more this afternoon. Harold Hoehner's always excellent commentary on Ephesians is superb and John MacArthur's sermons on the passage have been motivating and challenging. I'm also trying to read Gurnall's massive tome, The Christian in Complete Armor, which has to be one of the greatest treasures left to us by the Puritans. I will start on the passage this Sunday with the first of at least four or five messages, called "Christian, You Are At War."
Some might be wondering why did I read a biography on Johnny Cash? Answer: the movie made me want to. I saw Walk the Line shortly after it hit theaters late last year and was really grabbed by it. The performances of Jauquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were superb (they both won Golden Globes and Witherspoon won the Oscar for Best Actress). They did their own singing and actually did so well that I enjoyed it (and I don't usually like C & W music!). Unfortunately, though, the focus of the movie is largely on Cash's drug addition and adulterous pursuit of June Carter (nothing explicit, but the message is clear) in the midst of his rise to fame. The movie ends with a rehabilitated Cash proposing to June Carter in front of a Vancouver audience (she accepted). This is mostly true, though probably spoofed up a bit for the movie, but it largely leaves out the significant impact Cash's faith had on his life. I wanted the whole story, so I read David Turner's biography. It was very good and I'm glad I read it. I would say the impact for me was similar to the impact of reading the biography on Martin Luther King Jr. last year. It helped me understand this sinful man. It helped me see God's grace in his life. And it helped me understand the culture of the generation that preceded me better. And it was a good read. If you've seen the movie, be sure to follow it up with more detail about Cash's faith - otherwise you'll be left with a jaundiced view of Johnny Cash.
Regarding music, Holly and I recently attended a concert with numerous artists, including Caedmon's Call. Now there is a group of talented musicians! That was a real blast. I love their music and appreciate their depth. They are quite a contrast to a lot of contemporary Christian music.
Last night our family had our first family movie night. Stephen is four years old and we've not let him watch much TV. (I took him to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last year, but he lost interest fast). But last night was a little different. We watched Toy Story 2 complete with popcorn, and it was really fun to see how much Stephen enjoyed it. He either giggled or talked through the entire thing, but he was interested. I enjoyed it because of all the allusions to other popular films (like Star Wars and Jurassic Park).
Well, that's enough for now. Hopefully by next week I'll be back in the blogging mode. Just keep checking back periodically.